Vima Kadphises

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Vima Kadphises
Kushan emperor
Vima Kadphises in long coat. Legend in corrupted Greek script: ΒΑϹΙΛΕΥϹ BACIΛEWN CWTHP MEΓAC ΟΟΗΜΟ ΚΑΔΦΙϹΗϹ ("Basileus Basileuon Soter Megas Ooemo Kadphises"): "King of Kings Vima Kadphises the Great Saviour". British Museum.
Reign90–100 CE
PredecessorVima Takto
Statue of Vima Kadphises
Vima Kadphises (or possibly Vima Takto)[1] on throne. The name of the ruler is mentioned in an epigraphic inscription at the feet of the statue. The inscription reads:

Maharaja rajatiraja devaputra

Kushanaputra (Shahi Vamataksha) masya
Vakanapatina Huma (devakulu) karita

Arama pushkarini udapana (cha) sa-da (kothako)[2]

Mathura Museum.
Bronze coin of Wima Kadphises with camel, found in Khotan.

Vima Kadphises (Kushan language: Οοημο Καδφισης) , was a Kushan emperor from approximately 90–100 CE. According to the Rabatak inscription, he was the son of Vima Takto and the father of Kanishka.



The connection of Vima Kadphises with other Kushan rulers is described in the Rabatak inscription, which Kanishka wrote. Kanishka makes the list of the kings who ruled up to his time: Kujula Kadphises as his great-grandfather, Vima Taktu as his grandfather, Vima Kadphises as his father, and himself Kanishka:

"... for King Kujula Kadphises (his) great grandfather, and for King Vima Taktu (his) grandfather, and for King Vima Kadphises (his) father, and *also for himself, King Kanishka" (Cribb and Sims-Williams 1995/6: 80) Emperor Vima Kadphises expanded the Kushan territory in Afghanistan and north-west India, where he may have replaced the Indo-Scythian ruler Sodasa in Mathura.


Vima Kadphises with ithyphallic Shiva. Obv: Bust of king emerging from a cloud, with a crested helmet and holding a club. Corrupted Greek language legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΟΟΗΜΟ ΚΑΔΦΙΣΗΣ ("Basileus Ooimo Kadphisis"): "King Vima Kadphises".
Rev: Shiva, with a long trident in right hand, and the skin of a tiger in the left. Left, monogram of Vima Kadphises. Right: Buddhist triratna symbol (or possibly Nandipada). Kharoshthi legend: MAHARAJASA RAJADIRAJASA SARVALOGA ISVARASA MAHISVARASA VIMA KATHPHISASA TRADARA "The Great king, the king of kings, lord of the World, the Mahisvara (lord of the earth), Vima Kathphisa, the defender."

He was the Kushan emperor to first introduce gold coinage, in addition to the existing copper and silver coinage. Most of the gold seems to have been obtained through trade with the Roman Empire. The gold weight standard of approximately eight grams corresponds to that of Roman coins of the 1st century. Gold bullion from Rome would be melted and used for the Kushan mints, into three denominations: the double stater, the stater, and the quarter starter (or dinara).[dubious ]

The usage of gold testifies to the prosperity of the Kushan Empire from the time of Vima, being the center of trade between the Han Dynasty of China (where Vima was known as 阎膏珍), Central Asia and Alexandria and Antioch in the West. The Kushan were able to maintain and protect the Silk road, allowing silk, spices, textiles or medicine[citation needed] to move between China, India and the West. In particular, many goods[vague] were sent by ship to the Roman empire, creating a return flow of gold coins, Greek[vague] wine and slaves. Works of arts were also imported from all directions[where?][vague], as indicated by the variety and quality of the artefacts[vague] found in the Kushan summer capital of Bagram in Afghanistan. A strong artistic syncretism was stimulated, as indicated by the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara.

Roman history relates the visit of ambassadors from the Indian kings to the court of Trajan (98–117 CE), bearing presents and letters in Greek, which were sent either by Vima Kadphises or his son Kanishka.

Most of Vima's coins feature the Buddhist symbol of the Triratana on the reverse (or possibly Shiva's symbol for Nandi, the Nandipada), together with Hindu representations of Shiva, with or without his bull. Often time, a Trishul is depicted along with Shiva.

Preceded by
Vima Takto
Kushan Ruler
90 – 100 CE
Succeeded by


  1. ^ Revire, Nicolas. Kinsman of the Sun: An Early Buddha Image in the Asian Art Museum, Berlin, and Solar Symbolism. p. 9.
  2. ^ Banerjee, Gauranga Nath (1920). Hellenism in ancient India. Calcutta : Published by the Author ; New York : Oxford University Press. p. 92.


  • Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
  • Tarn, W. W. (1951). The Greeks in Bactria and India. 3rd Edition 1984. Ares Publishers, Chicago. ISBN 0-89005-524-6

External links[edit]

  1. ^ From the dated inscription on the Rukhana reliquary
  2. ^ An Inscribed Silver Buddhist Reliquary of the Time of King Kharaosta and Prince Indravarman, Richard Salomon, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 116, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1996), pp. 442 [1]
  3. ^ A Kharosthī Reliquary Inscription of the Time of the Apraca Prince Visnuvarma, by Richard Salomon, South Asian Studies 11 1995, Pages 27-32, Published online: 09 Aug 2010 [2]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Cribb, Joe; Donovan, Peter (2014). Kushan, Kushano-Sasanian, and Kidarite Coins A Catalogue of Coins From the American Numismatic Society by David Jongeward and Joe Cribb with Peter Donovan. p. 4.